In my mock draft, I grabbed two guys that wouldn’t have fit D’Antoni’s system very well. It appears that Donnie Walsh had the exact opposite idea. Although the Knicks needed some defensive big men to protect the paint, New York turned to players that are known for their scoring and are likely to fit into D’Antoni’s offense.
To say that these picks were unexpected is an understatement. Neither DraftExpress nor NBADraft.Net had either player in their mock draft. Much like past picks of Renaldo Balkman (Rondo), Jordan Hill (Ty Lawson), Toney Douglas (DaJuan Blair), and Channing Frye (Andrew Bynum) there will be questions going forward whether the Knicks should have taken a higher profile player (Varnado, Stephenson, etc.)
Last year D’Antoni had two players that didn’t necessarily fit his mold, as Jordan Hill appeared to be too raw offensively and Toney Douglas was a point guard that isn’t a natural distributor. This year should be different. Rautins ability to hit the three ball at a high rate (40.75) combined with strong court vision should make him a good option in the half court. Meanwhile Fields ability to get to the hole and draw contact (8.8 FTA/40 pace adjusted) should be a much needed addition to a team that was second worst in the NBA at getting to the free throw line. Hence Knick fans should expect more playing time from these two players than Hill or Douglas received last year.
As for whether or not these players will pan out, the pundits are skeptical. HoopsAnalyst’s Ed Weiland said that Rautins “looks like nothing more than a very valuable college role player” and NBADraft.Net questioned his “athleticism, size and strength.” On the other hand Weiland speculated that Fields “good enough to find a place in a rotation and possibly stick in the league for a long time.” The next step in these player’s evaluation will be in July’s summer league, which is usually a good yard stick for how one will transition from college to the NBA.